Practical Reasons in Support of Life-long Learning

Over the past 50 years, innovation has been constant and technology has been changing at a rapid pace. These changes have affected every facet of life, from how we brew coffee to how we take pictures and even how we read books and find information. There is no longer a singular, defined space and time, which has historically been the classroom during school hours, where learning takes place. Because of these changes, the educational system has had to change along with it. In addition to these updates to society, jobs are no longer the only place where knowledge is applied.

Adult learners are applying their education to their hobbies, volunteer work and even second and third careers that suit their passions. EdTech allows life-long learning to take place in greater numbers, as both the learners and the institutions have adapted and changed with the times.

Contributions of Life-long Learning to the Economy and Society

Adult learners who engage in life-long learning are making significant and important contributions to both the economy and society. Colleges and universities have recognized these contributions and are using EdTech to increase the variety and scope of their courses available to life-long learners.

Even if the adult learner is not seeking to earn a degree from their experience, the information and practical application of it allows them to do more in their jobs, enter a new field, go back into the workforce after raising a family or become more specialized in their volunteer positions.

As these adult learners become more successful, they make additional economic contributions by purchasing goods and services within their communities or by offering their newfound expertise to others.

Emerging Technologies and Life-long Learning

A strong, positive feedback loop has developed between EdTech and the needs of life-long learners. As so many adults have had positive experiences as life-long learners and the demand for flexible educational experiences has increased, so have the different technologies available to the learners.

Just-in-time learning is a form of EdTech that allows learners to watch lessons on demand, right as they need the information. This is much like the process that large supermarkets use to do their ordering, so that their goods arrive just in the nick of time.

Another useful EdTech feature is assistive technology, which allows adults with disabilities to pursue life-long learning without any impediments. Assistive technologies are perfectly suited to EdTech, such as watching video recordings of courses with captioning done on the bottom for deaf learners.

EdTech is also helpful to adults with learning disabilities, such as dyslexia. While adults with these special learning needs may have experienced difficulty in traditional classrooms in the past, today's life-long learning environment can be customized to meet their unique needs.

Adult Learners' Needs

Adult learners have learning styles that differ from those of traditional or younger students. These differences include a greater degree of autonomy and self-reliance, more maturity in their way of thinking and more real world experience about how concepts apply in society. In many cases, adult learners tend to have struggles with the technology gap. This is especially true for adults who are in their 50s, 60s and older as compared to those who are in their 20s or 30s. Most adult learners have jobs and families, and therefore lack enough time to engage in a full time educational program. These learners need a flexible and adjustable solution that works with their current lifestyles.

EdTech offers this flexibility so that adults with full plates can still find the time and means to help their educational dreams come true. From accelerated courses and digital credits to credit transfers from past educational programs, EdTech can help adult learners get back on track to completing their educational goals.

Online content and courses that can be viewed anywhere and at any time are of high importance to adult learners who need educational opportunities centered around them and not the other way around. Adult learners want efficient lessons, meaningful activities and purposeful assignments because their time is precious to them.

Like all other students, adult learners also want regular and structured feedback as well as lessons that are attuned to their learning style. Adult learners comprise a big share of EdTech students. This is because without the technology available today, it would be difficult for so many people to go back to school later in their lives. From educational institutions to the workplace, all of society is embracing these newfound opportunities for individuals to become more educated, knowledgeable and experienced in whatever field suits or excites them.

EdTech is accommodating to students of all ages and can meet learners' various needs, such as alternative schedules or taking one class at a time. It is also a big facilitator of higher education for many different types of students.

Using technology for the purpose of education has been expanding exponentially year by year, and we see this trend continuing well into the future. EdTech is a worthy investment for adult learners because it is uniquely poised to suit their schedules, experience and skills. It should come as no surprise to see learners taking advantage of it.